New Dutch government lifts smoking ban for small pubs
The Dutch government on Thursday lifted the smoking ban on small bars and pubs, fulfilling one of its election campaign pledges, dpa reported.
"People can start smoking again straight away," a government spokesman said in The Hague. "Smoking fines from the past few weeks will be cancelled."
However, the new regulations only apply to bars smaller than 70 square metres and in which nobody apart from the family that owns it is employed.
The smoking ban had been introduced in the Netherlands in 2008. Health Minister Edith Schippers of the right-wing liberal party (VVD) had announced Wednesday that the law would be relaxed.
Both parties in the coalition government, the VVD and the Christian Democrat party (CDA), as well as the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) - on which the government relies for support - had pledged to relax the smoking ban in their election campaigns.
The new government took office in mid-October after protracted negotiations between the political parties